Fostoria, Ohio, late October, 1977, Close Encounter with a Train
by Francis Ridge
Twice a day the C&O railroad sent a trainload of 35 to 40 empty box cars north out of Columbus, Ohio, to pick up processed food at the Fostoria Distribution Company warehouse 3 to 3 1/2 miles north of Fostoria, Ohio.
The warehouse is located on the north side of Jones Road, and east of three main line tracks. U.S. Route 23 is located over 200 yards to the west of and parallel to the tracks. A church sits on the east side of Route 23.
In order for the train to move the box car load into the warehouse, the front part of the train must operate from the eastern most main line track.
In addition to the engineer in the train cab, a conductor is needed to work along side the cars to uncouple the empties and couple up the full cars for the return trip to Columbus. A breakman works at the end of the train inside the warehouse. All communicate by walkie-talkie type radios.
On this night, possibly the 21st of October, the engineer who we shall call Howard J. Albert, was sitting in his locomotive cab on the main line track. It was cold and clear. Several box cars had been cut loose and were parked to the south of the switch track to the warehouse.
The engine was coupled up to the rest of the cars which were being moved into position within the warehouse.
At about 3:20 AM, Howard saw what looked to be a shooting star to the west; it curved down out of the northwest. He was sitting in his cab facing southbound. The first box car blocked his view in this direction.
The light came down in the field toward Route 23 between him and the church. Slowly, at about the speed of a walking man, it came toward him across the field. It was approximately 16 feet off the ground and stopped on the other side of the tracks between four and five box car lengths away - 180 to 270 feet.
Howard picked up his radio and called out to his conductor who was about seven or eight car lengths down the track, "Donald... come up to the engine." Donald replied by radio and asked what was happening. Howard answered, "Hey, we got a g- dó UFO up here."
By this time the UFO had moved to within two car lengths of the track.
The object was "birthday cake" or disk shaped, about 90 feet in diameter, and 45 feet high. It was brightly lit, with banks of nine vertical "tubes" separated by a dark void space that reflected no light. Short horizonal tubes ran over the top and bottom of these voids.
The bottom of the disk could be seen; it appeared like ceramic and was "the color of a common kind of knife sharpening stone... gray with a trace of lavender." No windows, ladders, antenna, or markings of any sort were observed. There was no sound associated with the disk.
The disk was slightly tilted and rotating counter clockwise. Both Howard and Donald used their railroad stop watches twice to time the speed of rotation. The speed was 9 rpm. They could not say what was used as a reference point for the timing, but are sure their estimate was accurate.
The object glowed yellow. Electric-like energy arcs ran around the disk in a clockwise direction. They were blue in color. As the arc touched the tubes, the tubes lit up. When the center of the tubes were touched, the ends lit up. When the ends of the tubes were touched by the arcs, the centers lit up
At one point the tower operator In Fostoria, hearing radio conversation between the three men, called and asked, "Hey, Howard, you got a UFO out there?" Howard replied, "Yes, Merv, we got a UFO up here. He's damn close."
Merv then asked, "Do you want the cops up there?"
The reply was, "Nol They can't drive up to where we're at. And if they do get here, they'll probably shoot at It. It isn't hurting anybody. We're playing games with it."
Howard turned on his train cab headlight for a two count and then turned It off. The object lit up very bright for a similar period of time and then dimmed down. Howard turned his light up twice and then turned it off again. The object reacted in kind and then dimmed down.
Testing his engine, a General Motors Model 3900, he increased the output to 1500 amps.
The engine worked. The object did not respond. The walkie-talkies worked, as did the base radio on the train.
After about 22 minutes, the object started spinning faster and faster and got as bright as it had earlier when it responded to Howard's head light signals. Suddenly, without a sound, it took off up and to the northwest until it looked like a yellow star. That is how they last saw it when they returned to work.
When the object was close across the tracks something told them that they should stay on the train and not cross the tracks. They also seemed to know that if they blew the train whistle the object would leave.
Howard thought that the object's occupants were observing their engine, a relatively uncommon model, and in turn were allowing them to observe their craft.
The conductor heard the radio description of the object, but only got up to the engine in time to see it as a yellow star-like object high in the northwest sky.
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